Monthly Archives: January 2013

Holodeck on its way to your living room?

“Where does he get those wonderful toys?” – Joker [Jack Nicholson]

The IllumiRoom has got to be the coolest thing at CES – hands down! I’ll definitely keep an eye on this. Microsoft Research has a bunch of great stuff and I highly recommend keeping an eye on what they are doing. (I still like Pex and I’d love to see that built into the next version of Visual Studio.) So, this appears to just be today’s Kinect, but with an associated projector.

This video is amazing and I just wanted to call out what I saw as some highlights:

  • First – just WOW!
  • “Xbox – go big” Even the initial room scanning is pretty cool. This is really the Kinect doing what it already does, but I’m guessing the projector helps by projecting light onto the scanned surfaces. (0:13 mark of the video).
  • (0:20) In this part of the video, you see how the shots from the player and opponents are seemingly breaking the boundaries of the television screen. This alone creates a slightly more immersive experience as it simulates the player’s peripheral vision. I especially like the fire effects at the 0:26 second mark too.
  • Note that this effect isn’t limited to the wall behind the TV, but it even projects objects onto the floor. The peripheral vision gets even better (0:32). They system essentially treats the entire room as a screen. When you think about it, the data for the game world is really there. I know game developers use clipping achieve greater performance, so I’d assume games will have to be written to support the IllumiRoom.
  • Custom code would probably be mandatory to achieve special effects on the projected game world (0:36). Here, you can see that the projected world is more of a black-and-white skeleton of the world on the TV.
  • The feedback effect (0:42) is a real highlight for me. It appears that the Kinect scan of the room was re-projected and then a vibration effect is applied to make the room look like it’s moving. (Virtual acid trip anyone?)
  • Finally, check out the snow effect at (0:49). Imagine that happening during Ghost Recon Future Soldier, Assassins Creed, or Skyrim!

It looks like MS research will release more info this Spring at ACM CHI 2013.